Tuesday, July 1st, 2014
Senator Charles Schumer, a New York Democrat, has called on the federal government to make the containers that hold liquid refills for electronic cigarettes–the containers essentially contain liquid nicotine–to be required to have child-proof caps just like medications and other potentially hazardous substances. Schumer cited a sharply rising number of reported accidental poisonings when children ingest the liquid, with 70 poisonings reported in New York so far this year, compared to just 46 such incidents in all of 2013.
So-called “e-cigarettes,” which contain nicotine but no tobacco tar or smoke, are getting the attention of parents, doctors, and policymakers nationwide. The FDA is currently considering a ban on their use by minors amid findings that show the use of the products by American teenagers has doubled between 2012 and 2013. Further, young people who use e-cigarettes have been found to be less likely to quit smoking traditional cigarettes–and more likely to start.
Examiner.com has more on why Sen. Schumer believes child-proofing e-cigarette refill containers is an important part of solving the problem:
Poisoning can result from swallowing the liquid, inhaling the liquid or absorbing it through the skin or the eyes. Liquid nicotine poisoning can bring on nausea, vomiting, seizures, heart problems and even death.
Because some e-cigarettes are refillable, liquid nicotine is available in separate containers. With flavors such as bubble gum and chocolate, it is easy to understand why the containers are attractive to children.
It is for this reason that Schumer is asking the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to include his proposal for child-proof caps and warning labels on the containers in the final draft of the agency’s e-cigarette regulations. The draft is part of the implementation for the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act that was passed in 2009.
For users of e-cigarettes, the American Association of Poison Control Centers recommends that e-cigarettes and liquid nicotine should always be locked up and out of the reach of children. They also advise anyone using the products to protect their skin from exposure to liquid nicotine.
Image: E-cigarette refills, via Shutterstock
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Friday, April 25th, 2014
A proposal by the US Food and Drug Administration to prohibit the sale of electronic cigarettes to minors is under consideration, news sources are reporting. The new rules would ban sales, but would not prohibit online sales or advertising aimed at minors. More from Reuters:
The long-awaited proposal, which would subject the $2 billion industry to federal regulation for the first time, is not as restrictive as some companies had feared and will likely take years to become fully effective.
Bonnie Herzog, an analyst at Wells Fargo, said the proposal is “positive for industry.”
But public health advocates lamented the fact that the proposal does not take aim at e-cigarette advertising or sweetly-flavored products, which they say risk introducing a new generation of young people to conventional cigarettes when little is known about the long-term health impact of the electronic devices.
“It’s very disappointing because they don’t do anything to rein in the wild-west marketing that is targeting kids,” said Stanton Glantz, a professor at the Center of Tobacco Control Research and Education at the University of California, San Francisco.
FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg said at a briefing on Wednesday that the proposal represented the first “foundational” step toward broader restrictions if scientific evidence shows they are needed to protect public health.
The number of teenagers who have tried electronic cigarettes has doubled in the past year, and if the ban is approved, the U.S. would join Britain in prohibiting minors from buying the devices.
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Friday, March 7th, 2014
Young people who start smoking by using e-cigarettes, which contain nicotine but no tobacco tar or smoke, are more likely to eventually smoke real cigarettes–and less likely to quit smoking altogether than those who do not use e-cigarettes, according to a new study published in JAMA Pediatrics. The New York Times has more on the study, which is getting a divided response from experts:
The study’s lead author, Stanton Glantz, a professor of medicine at the University of California, San Francisco, who has been critical of the devices, said the results suggested that e-cigarettes, whose use is growing rapidly among youth and adults, were leading to less quitting, not more.
“The use of e-cigarettes does not discourage, and may encourage, conventional cigarette use among U.S. adolescents,” the study concluded. It was published online in JAMA Pediatrics on Thursday.
But other experts said the data did not support that interpretation. . They said that just because e-cigarettes are being used by youths who smoke more and have a harder time quitting does not mean that the devices themselves are the cause of those problems. It is just as possible, they said, that youths who use the devices were heavier smokers to begin with or would have become heavy smokers.
“The data in this study do not allow many of the broad conclusions that it draws,” said Thomas J. Glynn, a researcher at the American Cancer Society.
The study is likely to further stir the debate over what electronic cigarettes mean for the nation’s 45 million smokers, three million of whom are adolescents. Some experts worry that e-cigarettes is a gateway to smoking real cigarettes for young people, though most say the data is too skimpy to settle the issue. Others hope the devices could be a path to quitting.
So far, the overwhelming majority of young people who use e-cigarettes also smoke real cigarettes, a large federal survey published last year found.
Still, while e-cigarette use among youth doubled from 2011 to 2012, cigarette smoking for youth has continued to decline. The smoking rate hit a record low in 2013 of 9.6 percent, down by two-thirds from its peak in 1997.
The new study drew on broad federal survey data from more than 17,000 middle school and high school students in 2011 and more than 22,000 in 2012. But instead of following the same students over time – which many experts say is crucial to determine whether there has been a progression from e-cigarettes to actual smoking — the study examined two different groups of students, essentially creating two snapshots.
Image: Teen smoking e-cigarette, via Shutterstock
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Monday, January 27th, 2014
British officials have announced that it will ban the sale of electronic cigarettes, called e-cigarettes, to minors under age 18, citing health risks as well as the need for further medical research. In the U.S., e-cigarettes are the subject of similar concern and pressure for the government to regulate the devices. The number of U.S. teens who say they have tried the devices doubled in 2013. More on Britain’s announcement from Reuters:
E-cigarettes, which are puffed like a regular cigarette but deliver nicotine by vaporizing liquid rather than burning tobacco, have grown in popularity and some analysts predict the market could outpace conventional cigarettes within a decade.
“We do not yet know the harm that e-cigarettes can cause to adults let alone to children, but we do know they are not risk- free,” England’s Chief Medical Officer Sally Davies said in a statement.
She added that e-cigarettes can produce toxic chemicals and that variations in the strength of the nicotine solutions between different products meant they could end up being “extremely damaging” to young people’s health.
The global market for e-cigarettes was estimated at more than $2 billion last year by market consultant Euromonitor.
Under-18s are already banned from buying conventional cigarettes in Britain. Sunday’s announcement included plans to make it illegal for adults to buy regular cigarettes for consumption by under 18s.
Image: Electronic cigarette, via Shutterstock
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Monday, November 18th, 2013
The number of teenagers who say they have tried smoking cigarettes has stabilized over the past year, but those who says they have tried nicotine by using electronic cigarettes–a habit known as “vaping”–has doubled in that same period of time, according to a study released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The study also revealed that an increasing number of teens are smoking flavored tobacco at hookah lounges, or smoking cigars–all before they are legally allowed to use tobacco products at age 18. More from Boston.com:
This bad news, reported Thursday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, puts even more pressure on the government to strictly regulate e-cigarettes and other forms of tobacco as stringently as they regulate cigarettes….
….Unfortunately, e-cigarettes are cheaper, easier to access, and marketed more heavily to young people than traditional cigarettes, which fuels the teen vaping trend according to the CDC’s senior scientific adviser Brian King.
New rules are expected to be issued within the next few months by the US Food and Drug Administration, but no one knows how tough they will be.
About 90 percent of adult smokers become addicted to tobacco by the time they finish high school, so public health experts believe efforts to keep teens from lighting up could be the ultimate solution to solving the nation’s smoking problem once and for all.
The CDC report was based on a 2012 survey of nearly 25,000 middle and high school students in the United States and found that e-cigarette use increased among middle school students from 0.6 percent in 2011 to 1.1 percent in 2012. The percentage of high school students smoking e-cigarettes increased in one year from 1.5 percent to 2.8 percent, and those smoking hookahs increased to 5.4 percent from 4.1 percent.
“These percentages may seen low, but they account for nearly 2 million students,” King said, many of whom mistakenly believe that e-cigarettes are harmless and that hookah use is safer than cigarettes. King stressed that the tobacco burned and inhaled from hookahs may deliver even more harmful carcinogens, and e-cigarettes are like the “wild, wild west” with no one knowing exactly what they contain.
Image: Electronic cigarettes, via Shutterstock
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